I WAS stunned by the ferocity of the fact-free rant from Ian Richmond, who lives apparently just along the road from me in Springfield, Dumfries and Galloway. He seems to think closing the Border entails a demilitarised zone with trenches, barbed wire and machine gun posts.

Does he not realise that Caledonian MacBrayne operate their ferries to our Hebridean Islands whilst they are in lockdown, only allowing free movement of islanders and essential goods and service personnel, and turning back all those who have no purpose for making such a journey?

READ MORE: Those seeking to close the Border clearly don't live close to it

Mr Richmond reminds me of the 2014 referendum campaign where every single aspiration of the Yes side was mocked and trashed and labelled impossible, and with which scatter-gun approach he seems to be applying to his argument here. Food crosses the Border each way every hour – my son-in-law works across on the English side, and commutes daily with the blessing of both governments, as an essential worker.

If the supermarket is more than five miles away the government does not insist you just starve yourself to death.

Camper vans and caravans and other holiday-makers crossing north into Scotland are not welcome at the moment as there are no facilities open to them. They should turn left into the Lake District, or other parts of their own country where things may be further ahead out of lockdown. We are sticking by the rules up here as we would very much like to not have to do this more than once.

Methinks the chap doth protest too much, which makes me ponder his motives.

Roddy Maclean

IN yesterday’s National Ian Richmond writes attacking people who wish to “close the Border” and then lists a number of essential journeys that would be prevented by this. What many of us want is not the Border to be closed but to be fully policed according to the lockdown regulations. This would mean all permitted essential journeys across the Border would continue. The need for full enforcement of the lockdown on the Border is only becoming greater as Scotland’s success in suppressing the coronavirus is in increasing contrast to England. This success should not be compromised for political reasons.

Hamish Scott

READ MORE: Eradicating the virus will require closing the Border

I’M inclined to think the letter expressing the fears of my friend in the Borders of watch towers manned with submachine guns, razor wire and demilitarized zones akin to North Korea was written tongue in cheek. Perhaps I could have made it clearer in my letter that closing the Borders was a worse-case scenario in response to a serious resurgence of coronavirus in England, and in effect only a bar to north-travelling tourists. Easy-to-spot mobile homes, caravans and private cars filled with camping equipped would be fairly obvious. The mere knowledge that police were present in the Borders would in itself be a deterrence.

Mike Herd

I FEAR that Ian Richmond, Springfield can’t see the trees for the wood that is the English Border. No need to look to North Korea at international level, just look to the northernmost isles in Scotland.

Travel to and from Shetland has been severely restricted, in fact they have been virtually cut off from the mainland for months now, yet the people aren’t starving, fish and farmed salmon are being exported.

Should it be necessary to stop people travelling across the border into England it will not bring the roof down in Dumfries and Galloway.

The pandemic will not be over for some time yet, we are already seeing variations recorded in infection rates between the countries and regions in the UK; as the virus is eliminated these will become more pronounced and localised, eventually they will become hot spots or local outbreaks as we have seen in Germany this week.

At that point the government will probably have to introduce travel restrictions in specific areas to prevent the spread of the virus, as we are seeing in the USA.

The problems arising from closing the English/Scottish border are minor in comparison to those that are likely to arise if local travel within small areas in Scotland has to be regulated.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

LESLEY Riddoch makes some powerful points in her column, (Community land buyout on Buccleuch Estate looks doomed, June 24). Community land-ownership over recent decades has proven to be a force for progress in a number of areas, especially in the Hebrides and parts of the West Highlands. By involving a diverse range of people with different backgrounds and experiences, shared ownership of the land generates new ideas, dynamism and creativity that in turn creates confidence, energy and local employment.

Most importantly, it focuses on the common good rather than on the priorities of any individual. The Covid-19 pandemic, and the pressing need to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis, mean that a place-based approach is more important than ever.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Community land buyout on the Buccleuch Estate looks doomed

It would be regrettable if the growing momentum towards community ownership of rural land were to run into the roadblocks because of high land prices and insufficient public funding. The idea raised by Andrew Thin of hybrid models of shared ownership, with communities retaining ultimate control, may be one way forward of breaking the log jam.

The John Muir Trust pledged £100,000 towards the Langholm Moor buyout because we are convinced that community management is the best way of protecting and restoring this vital natural asset. We would urge the Scottish Government and the Buccleuch Estates to help the local community find ways to make this happen. The John Muir Trust is keen to help that process along.

Mike Daniels
John Muir Trust

I TAKE it Malcolm Cordell (Letters, June 20) was in part referring to my earlier letter recalling Archie MacPherson’s unique contribution to football commentating. Archie’s strongly expressed opposition to Scottish independence prior to the 2014 referendum had indeed slipped my mind.

Hopefully, as with another Scottish treasure, Sir Billy Connolly, wisdom will visit Archie in old age and he may yet see the light.

Chris Glass